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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Reform’

Newest MK Yehuda Glick: ‘The Reform Are Jews and the Chief Rabbis Should Meet them’

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

In a surprising interview he gave Haredi radio station Radio Kol Hai, MK Yehuda Glick (Likud), known in the mainstream media as the “rightwing extremist” who advocates Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, used the opportunity to deliver conciliatory messages regarding his position on the relationship between state and religion in general and the Reform movement in particular.

Glick was the next in line on the Likud election list, and when Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon resigned from his office as well as from the Knesset last week, Glick took his legislator seat.

Glick told the Haredi radio listeners that “there’s no need to boycott the Reform, and it wouldn’t be so bad if the chief rabbis had met with them, we need to strengthen everyone. The Reform are Jews, and they deserve their human rights as Jews.” But Glick insisted that “the official body which is responsible for halakhic issues in the State of Israel is the Israeli chief rabbinate. But I believe the rabbinate should be considerate of the entire public, within halakhic limits.”

That part is a bit puzzling, seeing as the chief rabbinate believes it is acting within its halakhic boundaries when it views the Reform movement as an enemy of traditional Judaism and its values. The same chief rabbinate will probably have a hard time complying with MK Glick’s call to “integrate the Reform according to their proportionate presence in the Israeli population,” and his statement, “I believe the Reform movement needs a greater representation in Israel.”

When asked if he believes a Reform rabbi should be allowed to conduct a chupah ceremony, Glick said that, “It isn’t clear why in Israel it is required that weddings be conducted by rabbis. After all, the rabbi has no halakhic role in the chupah ceremony. All you need is the couple and two witnesses.” Glick said “there should be clear instructions as to how to conduct a wedding ceremony, and just as you don’t have to have a rabbi at a circumcision, under the chupah you don’t need a rabbi either.”

Speaking about drafting Yeshiva students to the IDF, an issue which may come up again with Avigdor Lieberman—who believes every young Israeli must serve—taking over the defense ministry. Glick related, “I have two sons who are soldiers and one son-in-law who studies in yeshiva, and I think each one of them contributes his part to the Jewish nation in a dignified way and should be allowed to do so.” Glick said “we should enhance the public’s appreciation of yeshiva students, but anyone who uses his yeshiva as a means for self advancement (meaning cheating the draft and going to work instead of serving) — that’s very serious. Ultra-Orthodox men who are not studying should volunteer in ZAKA or in Yad Sara.”

JNi.Media

Analysis: New Pew Report Has Seen the Jewish American Future and It’s Orthodox

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) The Pew Research Center has issued a further analysis of its 2013 survey of US Jews which, at the time, shattered some people’s long held beliefs about the Jewish community in America. The 2013 survey found that Orthodox Jews comprise 10% of the 5.3 million Jewish adults (ages 18 and older) in the US, but, as the new report puts is, “a survey is a snapshot in time that, by itself, cannot show growth in the size of a population.” What the new report is showing, based on the same findings, is that Orthodox Jews are likely “growing, both in absolute number and as a percentage of the US Jewish community.” In the race to dominate the Jewish community in America, the Orthodox are miles ahead of everyone else:

• The median age of Orthodox adults (40 years old) is better than a decade younger than the median age of other Jewish adults (52).

• More than two-thirds of Orthodox adults are married (69%), compared with less than half of other Jewish adults (49%).

• The Orthodox get married younger and bear at least twice as many children as other Jews (4.1 vs. 1.7 children ever born to adults ages 40-59).

• The Orthodox are more likely than other Jews to have large families: almost half (48%) of child bearing Orthodox Jews have four or more children—a mere 9% of other Jewish parents have this size families.

• Finally: practically all Orthodox Jewish parents (98%) say they raise their children Jewish, compared with 78% of other Jewish parents. Orthodox Jews are much more likely than other Jews to have attended a Jewish day school, yeshiva or Jewish summer camp while growing up, and they are more likely to send their children to the same programs.

That’s a strategy for domination. The numbers may not show it today, but one generation at these respective rates of growth could wipe the distance between the Orthodox and the other denominations.

And as competitions usually tend to go, as the Orthodox “threat” continues to loom, attacks on every aspect of the Orthodox, especially ultra-Orthodox lifestyle, will be forthcoming from a fast shrinking non-Orthodox community, as well as from unaffiliated Jews.

The Pew analysis itself already uses the kind of belligerent language US Orthodox Jews should expect from traditionally liberal to left-wing Jewish publications: “Indeed, in a few ways, Orthodox Jews more closely resemble white evangelical Protestants than they resemble other US Jews,” notes the new Pew report, carelessly blending the religious Jewish tradition with a tradition Jews consider repugnant for some of its “pagan” values.

The new Pew report states: “For example, similarly large majorities of Orthodox Jews (83%) and white evangelicals (86%) say that religion is very important in their lives, while only about one-fifth of other Jewish Americans (20%) say the same.” But the term “religion” means very different things to Orthodox Jews than to other communities: to Orthodox Jews, religion means adherence to a complex set of laws and a lifetime engagement in studying those laws as an intellectual pursuit for its own sake. Also, to many Orthodox Jews, their Jewishness is not so much a religion as a familial connection to their own ilk, to being a link in a historic chain, and to remaining socially isolated from non-Jews. To the evangelicals, “religion” might mean the reverse of that: a literal adherence to biblical law, rather than an interpretive approach; and spreading and expanding their faith among as many strangers as they can. Both communities practice “religion” the same way both gazelles and lions practice running–for very different reasons.

JNi.Media

Knesset Synagogue Bars Reform and Conservative Jews from ‘Mixed Prayer’

Friday, November 28th, 2014

American rabbinical students from the Conservative movement studying in Israel were prevented from holding afternoon prayers with men and women together in the Knesset synagogue, JTA reported.

Haaretz reported that the decision was handed down by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and the students were offered alternative place to pray. Reform and Reconstructionist students also were in the group at the Knesset, where the synagogue is designated as Orthodox.

“A lot of the students were very upset and shocked,” said Rabbi Joel Levy, director of the Conservative Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who submitted the request on behalf of the students, told Haaretz. “You’d think that the Knesset would be a place of ingathering of the Jewish people, but actually we learned that it has boundaries that don’t include liberal Jews. Paradoxically, this decision served as an appropriate end to our conversation about religion and state in Israel.”

(One wonders if they are equally as upset and shocked that no Jews are allowed to pray on Judaism’s holiest site, the Temple Mount.)

So here we go again. The Knesset implicitly a place that is not for the “ingathering of the Jewish people” because the synagogue is Orthodox.

Not only that, but “liberal Jews” are not allowed.

The minute they throw around the term “egalitarian prayers,” Orthodoxy has three strikes against it.

Once Judaism is defined by secular values, it becomes a monopoly of the liberals, who are tolerant of everyone who accepts them and then close the doors on anyone who challenges their power.

Power is what the argument is all about. It is the same issue that is behind the Women of the Wall movement, which gathered hundreds of thousands of supporters in the United States but which in practice cannot come up with more than a few dozen people –perhaps 100 on a sunny day – to demonstrate,  whoops – pray,  at the Western Wall once a month.

So here comes the Masoriti movement to the Knesset, where it wants their students to have a real spiritual experience and pray – men and women together – in the legislature’s synagogue.

When the Orthodox Jews set the rules, it is called a monopoly.

When the “liberals” set the rules, it is called democracy.

It would be interesting to know if the students at the Knesset have an afternoon prayer service every day, or is it only when they visit the Knesset?

And if they do, why cannot they respect the sanctity of the lace where there is a minyan of Jews every day, three times a day, instead of grabbing headlines for their “egalitarian” agenda that they think is “modern” and superior?

Okay. We gave them their headlines, just like we did with the Women of the Wall.

I wish the students an enjoyable visit in Israel but ask, “Why is it that Orthodox Jews make up such large numbers of those who move to Israel?”

Do the Reform and Conservative Jews visit Israel and go “home” because there is no mixed seating in the Knesset synagogue?

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

Chelsea Clinton Pregnant with Non-Jewish Child

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Chelsea Clinton, America’s poster child for intermarriage, announced on Thursday that she is pregnant.

Chelsea, the daughter of former president Bill Clinton, married Marc Mezvinsky, in a much publicized ceremony run by a Reform (nebech) rabbi and a Methodist minister, effectively pruning away that 3300 year old Jewish branch of the Mezvinsky family.

Clinton, who heads an interfaith society had previous said, “With all candor, because my husband is Jewish and I’m Christian, and we’re both practicing, it’s something that’s quite close to home.”

Though since her husband married out of the Jewish people, effectively making him the final link in a formerly unbroken Jewish chain, Clinton is certainly using a very open-ended definition of the word “practicing”.

As Rabbi Stav, the head of the moderate, Israeli Orthodox organization, Tzohar, said in November,

“The problem of assimilation among American Jews is not only an American problem, it’s our problem, too. There’s an ocean of ceremonies and an ocean of people eager to conduct ceremonies. Chelsea Clinton married a Jewish guy. I’m not arguing the legitimacy of it, you’re free to think what you want. But do you want me to recognize Chelsea Clinton’s child as a Jew? You want me to recognize the rabbi who officiated at her wedding as a rabbi? Are you trying to push intermarriage through my back door?”

Assimilation is rampant among non-Orthodox Jews in America.

This is Bill and Hillary Clinton’s first grandchild. Congratulations.

Shalom Bear

Israeli Government Pays Salaries of 4 Reform Rabbis

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

Israeli government money was transferred for the first time to the Reform Movement in Israel to pay the salaries of four community Reform rabbis.

The transfer of the more than $86,000 on Wednesday comes 18 months after Israel’s Supreme Court approved an arrangement to enable non-Orthodox spiritual leaders who lead congregations to receive state salaries like Orthodox rabbis.

The money was paid by the Culture and Sport Ministry instead of the Religious Services Ministry, according to the Times of Israel.

Under the agreement, the Reform and Conservative rabbis in Israel’s regional councils, but not in large cities where most serve, will be recognized as “rabbis of non-Orthodox communities” and will receive wages equal to those of their Orthodox counterparts. In addition, the rabbis must work full-time and be present at their congregation for at least 40 Sabbaths per year. Only rabbis of congregations with at least 250 members can receive full-time pay; those leading congregations of 50-250 members may receive half a salary even though have to work full-time.

Prior to the agreement, sparked by a lawsuit filed in 2005 by Reform Rabbi Miri Gold, only Orthodox rabbis received state funding.

“This is a historic and important step in the long struggle toward pluralism, religious freedom and the recognition by the State of Israel of all branches of Judaism,” Rabbi Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform Movement in Israel,” told Haaretz. “The Reform Movement will continue to act to redefine the relationship between religion and state in Israel and to separate the religious establishment from the authorities; however, as long as the state continues to fund religious services and the salaries of rabbis, we will make sure that this is done on an egalitarian basis.”

JTA

As the World Turns…

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Guest Post by Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer

Orthodoxy across its entire spectrum is in upheaval. One must go back to the triple pincer challenge of Reform, Haskalah and the Emancipation to find similar turmoil. Then, however, because of the state of civilization at the time, cataclysmic catalysts took longer to have an impact and the responses could be formulated and implemented over a longer period of time, affording some measure of the leisure of contemplation and analysis. Today’s civilization compacts, and therefore devastates all the more. We are all reeling.

But we are in a crucible, at high, rolling boil. It will take time – I do not know, of course, how long, but I suspect much less than the seventy-five or so years it took us to successfully adapt to those challenges of the early 19th century.

I do not foresee, at this point in time, that my generation – those of us who came of age in the 70’s through the 90’s or so – will be the heroes who successfully contend with the elemental forces at work. We were not brought up to be heroes.

The two generations that preceded us were heroic – in maintaining Torah through tribulation and tragedy, in fighting off the new challenges of secularism and Conservative Judaism, in establishing yeshivos and kollelim as axiomatic and widespread institutions.

When we came on the scene, there was – and is, to be sure – more of the same to accomplish. But it takes the form of another community Kollel in Chicago, another yeshiva in New Jersey, another Bais Yaakov in Monsey, an alternative community in Atlanta, another program to get Ba’alei Battim to learn, another lomdishe sefer on Bava Basra, etc.

We were also rendered timid – sometimes indirectly, sometimes directly – by the pioneers who preceded us, who were our Rabbeim and Roshei Yeshiva, our Rabbonim and the pillars of our community. They were men and women of vision and idealism, and we were along for the ride, and were given to understand – again, implicitly and explicitly – that we were to follow. They had more than enough creativity and leadership, and those were not our jobs.

There are so many clear manifestations and ramifications of our failure to overcome that timidity and passivity, the real and imagined limits and limitations in intellect, in spirit and in accomplishment.

The Internet has given us – somewhat belatedly – the ability to gripe and snipe together, to grumble and complain – but social media will not help us in the long run, but hinder us, as we mistake blog postings and Facebook comments for agents of growth that require the concrete rather than the ephemeral, the interaction of souls rather than their typed statements, the power of conclave rather than the curious notion of virtual reality.

We are outstanding at kvetching. We are utterly incompetent at doing.

Rather, in the absence of some major metamorphosis in my generation’s collective heart-and-mindset, we are relegated to the role of any sandwich generation. We can and must maintain streams of thought, perspectives and influences of earlier times, to serve as a resources for the generation that inevitably will arise someday to bring redemption to Orthodoxy.

I, personally, try to keep figures and writings that have moved me, at the disposal of our society, lest they be forgotten, compelling some future culturally primitive generation to reinvent a more deficient and imperfect wheel. This keeping of the flame is, in itself, an important mission. Especially when the seething cauldron might, at any moment, boil over and extinguish the flame. And thus we too will have played a role in bringing that redemptive time to pass, howsoever long this period of epic turmoil persists.

Harry Maryles

I’m a Feminist and the Women of the Wall Don’t Represent Me

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

Ha’aretz reported that a group of activists from the Women of the Wall organization are opposed to an Israeli governmental proposal to permit Reform Jewish congregants to have their own area to pray, independent from where both Orthodox Jewish men and women pray. In other words, these activists rejected a compromise proposal that designates an area of the Kotel where they are permitted to pray as they desire, in order to insist that Orthodox Jewish men and women be forced to conduct their prayers surrounded by individuals who don’t respect their religious customs.

As a modern orthodox Jewish feminist, I am outraged by the behavior of these activists, who dirt the name of feminism by their actions. Just as Reform Jews feel that they should have the right to pray as they are used to at one of the holiest sites in the Jewish religion, Orthodox Jews feel the exact same way. Furthermore, while Reform Jews are religiously permitted to pray in accordance with the Orthodox tradition, Orthodox Jews aren’t permitted to pray in a Reform manner, since their prayer services must follow a certain format according to Jewish law.

Even though nothing bars a Reform Jew from praying at the Kotel in an Orthodox manner, the Israeli government was respectful enough to offer Reform Jews their own location at one of the holiest sites in Judaism in order to pray as they please, without disturbing others. But instead of jumping on the opportunity and saying thank you to the Israeli government, activists from the Women of the Wall organization aren’t content. Why? Because the compromise proposal permits Orthodox Jews to continue praying as they have for thousands of years and this bothers them. While they demand religious toleration from others, they refuse to give others the same favor in return.

While Women of the Wall claims that it is not egalitarian to pray in an Orthodox manner, I would like to remind them that Jews have been praying for thousands of years a certain way and changing the religion is not in the hands of men. We cannot decide in the place of G-d what is Jewish law, based upon modern trends. Even if we don’t understand everything in Judaism, G-d always makes things a certain way for a reason and humans should never question G-d.

Nevertheless, Judaism remains to be one of the most egalitarian religions today, as women are believed to be at a spiritually higher level than men and countless Jewish women have held prominent positions both in the Tanakh and throughout Jewish history. Moses granted Jewish women the right to inherit at a time when women having such rights were unheard of. Even if one doesn’t desire to obey Jewish law due to ones own Reform belief system, the bare minimum that one should be able to do is to respect others that wish to and to do as one likes in a location that won’t disturb others.

I also would like to point out to these individuals that there are many more pressing issues facing feminists today than whether or not Jewish women will be able to wear a Tallit like the men and host a so-called “egalitarian” prayer service at the Kotel. I call upon any one who believes that having “egalitarian” prayer services at the Kotel is the most pressing issue facing women today to take a look at the world that we live in.

Women are getting raped en masse in Syria, either by government forces or by Islamist rebels as part of their sexual jihad. Around 50 percent of Yemen’s brides are under the age of 18. The UN stated that over 5,000 women are murdered each year in honor crimes. 2,500 brides in India are burnt to death each year, primarily due to dissatisfaction over the dowry. One young Pakistani girl, Malala Yousafzai, was almost murdered by the Pakistani Taliban for insisting on young girls in her country having the right to have an education. Around 125,000,000 girls in Africa and the Middle East are victims of female genital mutilation.

Closer to home, hundreds of young underage Jewish girls are seduced by Arab men each year. Many of these cases evolve into abduction, rape, and abusive marriages. This problem is especially acute in Southern Israel, where sexual harassment by Bedouin men is a major issue. Furthermore, according to the OECD statistics, the Israeli police recorded 17.5 cases of rape within the country per 100,000 people within the Israeli population in 2012. There were only 9 OECD members who had worst statistics than these in regards to rape, one of them naturally being the United States. Recently, Jerusalem Online News reported that only two female mayors were elected to serve in the 2013 municipal elections. This means that out of all of the Israeli municipalities, there are only 4 female mayors in the entire country.

Rachel Avraham

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/daughters-of-zion/im-a-feminist-and-the-women-of-the-wall-dont-represent-me/2013/10/31/

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